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E-buses: de lijn actively goes green

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De Lijn is continuing with the greening of public transport. With the purchase of electric buses (e-buses) we are taking a new, important step towards achieving the climate targets.

De Lijn is currently looking into various options for the most realistic and feasible implementation in different phases; in partnership with our passengers and the government, we are committed to emission-free services in the urban core of the central cities and the Flemish Periphery by 2025. The current target is for the phased introduction of electric buses (and associated systems) from 2023.

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Electric buses as a means of public transport

With their zero emissions, electric buses have a ‘green’ propulsion system. Instead of a conventional combustion engine powered by fossil fuels such as diesel or petrol, they have an electric motor and a battery that is charged with electricity.

Outwardly – as is the case with electric cars – there is little or no visible difference between them and ordinary buses. However, you can recognise an electric bus from its orange stickers with a white flash. This also tells the fire brigade and emergency services that this is an e-bus. You can now also see these stickers on the hybrid buses.

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Greener and quieter too

The new electric buses have several big advantages.

  • They don’t emit harmful substances such as CO2 (a greenhouse gas), NOx (acid rain, harmful to health) and fine particulate matter (harmful to the heart and respiratory tract). Because De Lijn only buys green electricity, there are no emissions from producing the energy either. Which makes them good for the climate, the environment and the health of local residents.
  • They are very quiet: all you can hear is a humming sound. When leaving the stop, the bus is actually three times quieter than an ordinary diesel bus. Like trams, they do have a bell, though, to allow the driver to let pedestrians or cyclists know that the bus is coming.
  • They are modern and comfortable, with plenty of space and easy access for passengers.

Figures that speak for themselves

The introduction of electric buses will reduce De Lijn’s diesel consumption by more than 40% in the long term – a decrease of 19 million litres of diesel per year. That means that our e-buses will emit 50,000 tons less of CO2emissions every year.

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Greening strategy

The introduction of e-buses and their charging infrastructure is one of De Lijn’s three pillars for greening the fleet. Until the battery technology, especially for articulated buses, is perfected, De Lijn will also use e-hybrid buses. These buses will run emission-free within the urban core or LEZ, and then switch to a low-emission, clean diesel engine with a DPF filter.

Finally, De Lijn is also involving the operators, who account for around half of the bus kilometres.

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Pilot or start-up projects

In Leuven and Antwerp we have already started a pilot project with 5 e-buses each. Ghent will follow in early 2022.

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Leuven pilot project

First e-bus fleet in a Flemish city center
Rapid charging point at the Campus Heverlee Arenberg stop

Antwerp pilot project

Line 17 (Brouwersvliet - Central Station - UZ Antwerp): 5 e-buses in the heart of Antwerp
Rapid charging point at the UZ Antwerpen stop

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Deploying e-buses involves much more than just purchasing them. It also includes:

  • Installing charging infrastructure;
  • Ensuring a connection to the network operators’ energy supply in our depots and along bus routes;
  • Rolling out special monitoring and management software. This will allow us to see, among other things, where the e-buses are running, where there are charging stations and what the battery status is.

How does charging work?

De Lijn has opted for depot charging for its electric buses. We will equip about 20 depots with charging infrastructure.

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Depot charging

Charging point like that for your electric car at home
Overnight charging

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Did you know?

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Investments

What investments are needed to make this project a success?

The choice for e-buses

Why have De Lijn and Flemish minister Lydia Peeters made a deliberate choice in favour of electric buses?

Timing

Where are we today and what you can expect in the years ahead?